What I’ve been up to, June 6th Edition

Back in June, I ran into a few computer problems. Fragmented hard drive? Nope. Bad ram? No, my problem’s a bit more unique;

My computer sprang a leak:

We've reached crush depth!

My computer is submersion cooled. Which means that most of the main components are suspended in a vat of non-conductive mineral oil. The oil cools much more efficiently than air, and lets me cool everything with a single radiator and fan. It’s quieter, more stable, and a teensy bit screaming fast.

But it means my computer has a circulatory system, with oil as it’s life-blood. So you can imagine my reaction when I woke up to a slowly expanding puddle of mineral oil on my desk.

Reduce, reuse, reanimate.

I salvaged as much of the oil as I could. Food grade mineral oil isn’t overly expensive, but it’s rather difficult to find, so I try not to waste it.

Pulse is steady, BP normal.

This bin, according to Home Deopt, is supposed to be for mixing concrete… or something. I bought it as a service station for my motherboard, and it works quite well. When I was finally done with my repairs, I poured the drained oil from this tray right back into the main oil supply.

Wait, where's the leak?

At first glance, it’s tough to see how the tank leaked. Where’s the crack?

Oh, there's the leak.

Aha! There it is. A hairline fracture at one of the molding injection points. I don’t know if it cracked under the load from the oil, from the heat of the computer, or from some other factor, but this is definitely where the oil leaked out.

This marked the start of a two week period where I had to do without a desktop computer. All because I needed to buy a new tank. These days, I keep spare tanks sitting around, just in case something happens.


  • OMG! I bow down to you in admiration of your PC knowledge and experience and only hope that your computer is feeling a lot better now 🙂

  • Thanks! It’s the most impressive thing I’ve ever built, and I’ll admit that I’m quite proud of it. It can be a troublemaker from time to time, but even with all the problems, it was totally worthwhile.

    It took me about two weeks to get it back up and running, but it’s running fine now. That’s why I keep spare cases these days. Just in case the replacement cracks.

    If you’re interested, the build log is available on Bit Tech: http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=169498

    One of these days, I’m going to go back and finish reporting on the build. I just want to get a little bit more done first. I really should repost the articles here too.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *